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Catalysts for Community Health

Summary 
  • Need: To help low-income and rural community members access health information at their libraries.
  • Intervention: C4CH trains Master of Library and Information Science students to become health information resources for underserved communities.
  • Results: The first cohort has 10 students.

Description

Catalysts for Community Health (C4CH) is a cohort of 10 Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students at the University of Missouri School of Information Science & Learning Technologies who become health information resources for underserved communities. These students:

  • Take online classes and complete part of their training in public libraries as well as community health settings
  • Take classes part-time so that they are still able to work part-time
  • Develop a cross-disciplinary curriculum about community health
  • Build local networks including libraries and community health settings like hospitals, senior centers, and school programs
  • Learn how to create public programs with open-access health information resources
map of the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) MidContinental Region
Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) MidContinental Region

Program coordinators recruited students from the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) MidContinental Region: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming. The current cohort consists of students from Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska.

C4CH is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Services offered

The C4CH program:

  • Creates information and curriculum resources
  • Develops outreach and programming with students and collaborators
  • Trains students to lead community health information networks
  • Provides support to students through a mentor (a local librarian) and a peer mentor (a graduate assistant)

Results

Ten students have been recruited for this program. These students created the following guides, available at MU-SISLT Student Work, for their References Sources & Services class:

  • Chronic Pain
  • Consumer Health
  • Diabetes
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Resources
  • Self Care: Mental Health Resources for Adults

Challenges

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students could not work with community partners in person or work inside their own libraries at times. Instead, students worked with partners and completed projects online. While there are disadvantages and challenges to working remotely, program coordinators say that these remote opportunities have proven fruitful to students, who were able to work these online projects into their community and classwork.

It is difficult to fund interdisciplinary work through the university budget process, which may make funding C4CH difficult after the grant period.

Replication

Recruit students who live in the underserved rural areas you want to serve. Reach out to colleges and universities, if applicable, as well as public libraries. Ask librarians if they have any employees who would like to earn their master's degree but haven't had the opportunity to do so. Recruit students who are interested in staying in their communities and helping improve the health of community members.

Work closely with faculty in other disciplines to make sure that information from the cross-disciplinary curriculum is still useful to students as librarians. Meet with other faculty to discuss your needs and purpose for the program, and work with an advisory team to figure out how different courses are relevant or useful.

Contact Information

Jenny Bossaller, Library and Information Science Program Chair
University of Missouri School of Information Science & Learning Technologies
Catalysts for Community Health
bossallerj@umsystem.edu

Topics
Health literacy
Population health
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served
Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska

Date added
June 10, 2021

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2021. Catalysts for Community Health [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/1090 [Accessed 21 October 2021]


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.